Pradeep Khosla

Interview Location: United States

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Pradeep Khosla discusses his career in robotics, focusing on manipulation and control. Outlining his involvement at Carnegie Mellon and DARPA, he describes his work on the SCARA design and the direct-drive arm, the reconfigurable modular manipulator system, swarm robotics, and warfare robotics and comments on DARPA’s influence on robotics. He discusses his move towards research in security in embedded systems, and his activities within CMU, such as the creation of the CyLab and involvement with the Robotics Institute. He reflects on the evolution of robotics and robotics education at CMU, and the challenges and future of the field in the US and in other countries.


Pradeep Khosla attended the Indian Institute of Technology where he received a bachelor's degree in Technology in 1980. He later attended Carnegie Mellon University where he completed a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1984 and 1986, respectively. Following graduation he became an Assistant Professor of ECE and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon where he rose through the ranks to University Professor in 2008. He also served as the Head of the Department of ECE from 1999 to 2004, Founding Director of the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES) from 1997 to 1999, Founding Director of the CMU CyLab from 2001 to 2008, Director of the Information Networking Institute from 2000 to 2004, and Dean of the College of Engineering from 2004 to 2012. In August 2012, he became the eighth Chancellor of UC San Diego. Beyond academia, Khosla also served as Program Manager for DARPA in the Software and Intelligent Systems Technology Office from 1994 to 1996. Khosla's research interests include internet-enabled collaborative design, collaborating autonomous systems, agent-based architectures for distributed design and embedded control, software composition and reconfigurable software for real-time embedded systems, reconfigurable and distributed robotic systems, integrated design-assembly planning systems and distributed information systems. For his work he has received several awards and honors, including the 2012 Light of India Award.